The following is a personal diary from June 5th to September 9. 1951
The author is unknown, but might be a Mr. J. R. Spinna
If you have any knowledge of the author or were part of this project in any way, please let me know.
Blue Noses to Blue-Jay
June 5th 1951
11 LST's - 3 LSM, left Norfolk headed north - weather sunny and hot turning to a chilly rain while at sea - Our flag ship of convoy with commander Fuller staff LST 980.
Attaining 9 knots hour and about 200-240 miles per day.
Have 64 N.A.C. men aboard with one superintendent, four foremen and my assistant convoy Lt. Mr. Chuck Greene.
Played hearts, recorded data for N.C.A. and had bull sessions with officers of 980 on politics. Retired about 3:00 AM
One day out - cool and clear - seas somewhat choppy - needed to repair water distillation pumps and pipeing - almost necessitated turning into port.
Convoy still in formation - played hearts most of the day with ship's officers.
Made complete check of heavy equipment aboard all ships for damaged parts so's we could inform Norfolk or New York and have parts replaced and at job site when we arrived.
Completed more paperwork - got to bed 2:00 AM
Sunny and warm - calm sea - men all well behaved and enjoying trip.
Food very good considering everything.
Water a serious problem - capacity is 3000 gallons per day for usage - due to overload of personnel, using 9-11.000 per day.
Distiller only makes 2,500 per day so conditions could get critical.
Have informed NAC personnel to conserve.
Sunny and warm - sea still calm - men into good spirits - assigned NAC personnel to aid in laundry as ship staff short manned - spent time in chart room mapping out course to be taken.
Men checked all chains and turnbuckles to see that all machinery and equipment secure.
Sunny day, but weather starting to get cold - now in middle of Grand Banks.
Sea shallow, and waves huge - sighted whales - stayed up all night to get a glimpse of arctic sun rise at sea.
Took photos at 4:00 am in Kodachrome of convoy and sky.
Sea rough - encountered first storm - one generator damaged, pulled by navy tug - fell back to last place in convoy formation.
Spent some time chatting with Commander Fuller and Capt. Brian on personnel.
Saw movie "Kim" - took final shots for medical clearance - weather now cold - spent as much time as possible in chart room learning about navigation.
Tomorrow expect to make turn around Newfoundland and head Northeast toward Pole.
In a north atlantic gale - hugh waves sweeping over ship, rocking it to and from - cold and very windy - engine now fixed and LST980 now at front of convoy formation once again - small LSM battered by sea - took more pictures from bow of ship of mountainous waves - had first haircut aboard ship - stencilled all my gear so that I could identify them after washed - Plan to spend some time writing today.
Very cold - Hugh waves - still running through raging storm - ship being tossed about like paper - caught up on letter writing - convoy not visible due to fog and high waves.
Played bridge with commander and staff officers.
Men still all well behaved - warm clothes issued to all who stroll decks.
Still awaiting sight of first iceberg.
Storm over with - sea still quite rough though.
Weather getting cold - can not get many U.S. radio stations any more - no local transmitter hereabouts.
Got a news flash on Louis victory over Savold on short wave over Russian propaganda out of Prague.
Crew alerted for 24 hours watch for growlers (submerged icebergs) which are more dangerous because you come upon them before you know they are there - then Smack!!!! - Also sighted first iceberg - it was in distance - Capt. Bryan estimated it was eight miles of starboard out to sea - about 300 feet high and 700 yards from pinnacle to pinnacle - we stayed far away from that one, as ¾ of icebergs is usually submerged, and that's the part that raises havoc with ships.
Convoy now in single file until we pass Iceberg danger.
Radar and sonar playing wonderful role detecting their whereabouts.
Men all happy, and seem to be finally resigned to sea.
Practically no night - only twilight.
Sea calm, always dangerous, though, because of growlers - two days ahead of schedule - may arrive June 23rd if we can get by ice flow.
Second convoy which left port on June 10th should catch us about the 22nd, and we all should go in enmass.
Second convoy fitted in liberty ships and barrack ships - attain 14 knots - we only average 8-9 which means they can make up 1000 miles on us every three days.
Sighted a couple more Icebergs in distance and a few growlers, but diverted course to avoid them.
Commander Fuller took me with him for a tour of convoy on small LCVP.
He inspected Navy personnel and NAC personnel.
Everone in good spirits except mild case of trench mouth reported.
Hasn't reached epidemic stage yet, but lack of medical supplies and serum may aid it, as men can't be inoculated against it. Sea very calm, weather clear but cold.
Had to set clock back one hour as we hit another time zone.
June 23rd practically confirmed as date of arrival.
Sighted coast of Greenland about 12 miles from ship.
Not visible to take pictures.
"Blue-Jay" still far off (1158 miles away yet).
Got into a swell checker game with Commander and beat him 3-1.
He's nicest regular guy you'd ever want to meet.
Incidentally, he slaughtered me in Chinese checkers.
980 officers, Capt. Bryan, Executive officer Lt. Kemp, Lt. Saari, Lt. Wise and Lt. Fawcet all take turns playing hearts with me and do they rub it in bypassing me the Queen of Spades all the time.
NAC men all happy because land sighted - men starting to get restless for action.
They've volunteered for every bit of work available just to pass the time, It's been so boring on board.
Mr. Green - my 1st Lt. for NAC - while looking through my drawer found football game - since he's from Tennessee, we had a "Sugar Bowl" game between Callfornia and Tennessee and I won 22-20.
Then we played the "Cotton Bowl" Tennessee against Notre Dame and I won 43-35.
That soured him so he's quit that game too.
Today's pay day in the Navy - I'd imagine there's some big poker games to be played tonight.
Poker and dice were rolled and played until the early hours of the morning.
As usual, the sharks made suckers of the kids.
Sighted Icebergs all around us - huge ice flow blocking passage to "Blue-Jay" - have to change course - headed south for a 100 miles until Ice-breaker come to lead us.
Men all enthused over Ice flow and beautiful glacier and mountain fjords of Greenland - Others I discovered are making log of trip also.
Had first casualty today - one of the men had little finger amputated - finger crushed in hatch when ship rolled.
Took shots of Commander and crew - all very cooperative.
Had Ice cream for first time - very good after chow we've had.
Weather extremely cold - men all wear heavy gear now.
Practically no darkness at all now - at 1:00am and 3:00am the heavens were as bright as 1:00pm and 3:00pm.
Men all watching movies tonight in Tank Deck - "Riding High" with Bing Crosby.
Ice flow and bergs hampering progress - also fog.
Commander proceeding with caution since Ice-breaker can't be located, and we were expecting them to lead us balance of journey to "Blue-Jay".
Weather now very cold and miserable in general - Convoy at a complete stop because we're surrounded by ice, and Commander fears being hemmed in.
Second Convoy at our rear, having caught us because of our plight.
Snowing heavily for first snowfall of season.
Saw birds that resemble penguins, but figured they weren't since penguins are not found at North Pole.
Approximately 200 miles from job site and thought very discouraging at being so near and yet so far.
Capt. Bryan of 980 also sad because rations running low and water supply lower.
Men getting restless more and more as land known to be near.
Icebergs and flow keeps closing in on us with every hour that passes.
The 24 hours of daylight is novel, but very hard on men who can't sleep during "daytime".
Convoy still Icebound - not yet in any great peril, but situation could get worse.
Made reconaissance run with Commander in small LCVP looking for break thru ice flow where we might find a lead thru to continue journey.
Sighted walrus and seal.
Noticed all ice three to six feet thick - too thick for LST's to try and break through without ice breaker - which incidently is still sixty miles away and trying to reach us from the north.
Men taking the idleness in stride.
Visited LST 601, men all loosing gear (or stolen) - Also informed all tools for equipment stolen.
Sent comminique to New York informing company head (Mr. Ellington) in order to have tools replaced.
Had visit with General Vaughan, General Witcomb and Commander Fuller about course of action to be taken.
Saw "Asphalt Jungle" at movie session.
Took many pictures of scenery.
Convoy still ice-bound - no progress at all toward "Blue-Jay".
Men weary and worried about wives adn home affairs.
Commander planning 0n visiting S.S. Monrovia where Admiral Britain and General Whitcomb and General Vaughan berthed to consult over ice predicament convoy in - General worry of crew and staff of both NAC and Navy is that ice flow may crush ships to pieces as they move about us - Ice breaker trying its best to get to us, but conditions and odds tremendously against us.
Commander back from visit to Monrovia.
Admiral Britain and staff decided to turn South, away from "Blue-Jay" until ice flows part us.
Discovered that bay just outside of "Blue-Jay" where we're to dock is icelocked also, so they'll dynamite it free - This means we'll be at sea another week or two - very, very discouraging to all.
Ice breaker sighted - will lead us back out to open sea and stay in warm currents until opportune time to make northward swing again.
Sunday - Raging gale ll about us - ships now freed from ice, but new menace now endangers us - Turnbuckles and clevis's which hold tremendous pontoons aren't too secure, and the way the ship is rolling and pitching in storm, causes Commander, staff and crew no end.
Attended usual Sunday mass with other Catholic boys - had chicken for last time - food shortage threatened.
Had permission of Admiral Britain to let NAC men wire home short messages for all emergency cases - Men happy because of this courtesy extended them.
Attempted to have helicopter on ice breaker deliver us mail from "Blue-Jay" to convoy here at sea, but 250 miles distance between - out of range for helicopter to attempt. Too dangerous.
5th day of no progress - ice all around - may have to shuttle back and forth in about a 25 mile area so as not to be frozen in entirely - no chance of getting to "Blue-Jay" this week - men starting to gripe - and rightfully so - food situation getting worse - rationing hasn't started as yet, but expected soon.
Commander still believes he could hug coast line and work his way through fjords clean to "Blue-Jay", but Admiral won't capitulate to trend of thought.
6th day ice bound - cold, foggy and miserable in general - Ice bergs all around - gradually closing in on us like a pair of hands around someone's throat - Staff and Crew worried - NAG personnel continuing discontentment - many plan to quit as soon as we arrive at Job Site, they're so angered at "run-around" they think they're getting.
Most though reallze that obstacles of nature the Navy is not responsible for.
Fog causes additional danger since all sea routes have bergs situated in direct course.
Have been informed that more looting of NAC equipment secured on tank deck has taken place.
Tools of al descriptions are missing, and I informed our NAC ship Superintendent to inform ship captain of condition - also sent wireless to Washington explaining condition.
Admiral Britain of task force I would presume must have caught hell from Washington, on this looting, because he issued directives to all Ship Captains and Commander Fuller to start a complete search of all ships and lockers.
An ultimatum from each Staff Captain to his crew was issued requesting return of all tools and missing gear by a specified time or general search was to follow - needless to say, better than 85% of gear returned.
Thanks to this cheeking of looting, and paper work involved, my time has passed quickly.
Am learning, or trying to learn to play accordion - Lt. Saari - a Finn - bought.
a beautiful one in Italy his last trip there - it's the most beautiful sounding instrument I've ever heard - the officers and I spend part of our evenings singing good old songs.
Eighth day Ice bound - still no sight of Ice breaking for us to continue - walrus and sea lions sighted - not too cold, but weather damp and fog still prevails.
Fog now as serious a problem as icebergs, as they are preventing our planes from making a general survey of area and making accurate report.
There's so much Ice, that the cold air rising off from ice sifts over bay - mixes with warm air from sea and causes a constant mist or fog.
Commander Fuller and Staff and I talked about experiences in States - heard some real hair-raising tales.
Especially war years. Will relate some day.
Men miss mail from home more than any inconvenience they've experienced thus far - odd how rough exterior of men turns to putty when loved ones missed.
Had some news from Admiral Britain.
USS Taumer of our fleet may be forced to return to States in a few days - If so, he may pick up all mail aboard all ships in convoy and return it with him.
Have informed all NAG men to have all their mail ready for mail boat when it arrives - men all happy for first time in ten days.
Something to look forward to.
Was informed by Washington that additional 500 men on four more APL's (Barrack Ships) which started on 2nd convoy and now part of this task force will also be under my jurisdiction - that makes 1038 altogether, as 538 left with me on this first convoy.
I pray I get as much cooperation from each NAG Ship Superintendent on this second section as I have been g etting thus far from the first unit.
Time will tell.
This puts more work - both paper, mental and physical on my two lieutenants and myself, but it has to be done, and were the designated one to coordinate it without a gripe.
Weather still bad - no improvement over general conditions for past week or ten days.
Heard over radio a transcription of re-broadcast of White Sox-Detroit game - Detroit won 3-2 - Our set too small to pick up transmitters that are located in Northern Canada, but S.S. Monrovia has a powerful short wave set, and she rebroadcasts to all ships in force.
We heard it at 2:OOAM - although it was as light outside as any mid-afternoon in the States.
Tenth day ice bound - still no progress - supplies running short - men thoroughly dissatisfied at everyone and everything - sea calm, but weather very cold - "Blue Nose" certificates presented - given to any person who crosses the Arctic circle - food still diminishing, but by careful rationing it's holding out.
Scuttlebutt aboard is something to behold -every conceivable yarn imaginable has spread, and it's quite ludicrous some of the tales spun.
Commander Fuller's Staff and Ship's Staff play bridge and hearts regularly now - something rare, as staff officers don play with subordinates.
Keep getting naval foul weather gear from different LST's and ships in task force - Commander Fuller has donated to me six of his prize khaki shirts and a wonderful set of navy warm jacket and pants combination.
Informed by Admiral Britain that weather stil main factor in final analysis.
Hope bergs and growlers don't cause too much havoc, as they are constantly closing in on us
Had all my clothes laundered - nice to wear clean clothes again.
Attended Mass for fourth Sunday aboard ship.
Commander Fuller has allowed MAC men to visit other ships using LCVP's - permits them to stretch their legs a little and also see how other's in convoy are living and behaving and how conditions vary from one unit to another.
Men happy because confinement has been practically unbearable - keep listening to gripes and sending reports of same to Washington for action.
Tried to borrow $l2,500 from Navy to spread amidst men who need it to make small purchases of candy and tobacco, but Army wouldn't permit the allotment.
They plan in view of the fact that we haven't been paid since May 28th to allow credit aboard - but no cash - just as wall, will stop gambling.
Just returned from visiting all ships - men on other LST's and LSM's all in wonderful spirits still - cause - better and more food than our tub - Some care if we never arrive - they're making more money being idle than they've ever made.
Others requested to be put on regular 60 hour guarantee basis of pay which is "Blue Jay" pay - I forwarded such to Washington for approval or rejection, as I was lead to believe by General's Pick, Vaughan and Whitcomb that we were to receive "Blue Jay" pay for 40 hours while at sea and the maximum guarantee of 70 hours once we landed.
Have been receiving communiqués regularly from Washington and NAC officials on seriousness of delay, but nothing can be done to alleviate matters.
12 days - still ice bound - snowing and colder - thermometer below zero - gear issued very warm.
Icebergs appear as ghosts out of fog whenever we approach one.
Men all had bull session about home and wives and children - missed everyone very much.
Saw Toast of New Orleans with Nano Lanza - everyone enjoyed it - practically no civilian money left - Navy ship's store has it all - but still am trying to arrange credit.
Hope I'm successful.
Heard Red Sox beat Yanks 3-1 dam it - no matter how far away I get, they still beat them.
Surprised Walt Dropo optioned out - always said he was a bum - take that short fence away from him and he was a real stiff - See many seals and polar bears through glasses, but no bears have as yet ventured close enough to be shot at.
Hope to get picture of one - maybe get a skin - Ho! Ho!
Tonight we having a serious political discussion - Commander Fuller really came out with some "inside" dope, but as usual, the argument came to a stalemate.
Expect to take small LCVP to visit ships -again tomorrow - hope to finish coordinating work between all ship foremen and superintendents.
Have ha first semblance of good news - Washington has O.K'd my request to pay men at least $25 since they've not been paid since May 28th or thereabouts.
Most of them out of cigarettes, candy and toiletry money - am to get $12,500 from Lt. Hillman on LST 509 tomorrow - hope fog doesn't prevent trip, as men sorely need funds - advised them that I have been notified by Washington and NAC officials that wages for June 9 and 23 were sent to families.
News really welcomed.
Still no progress - doubt If many will ever make a sea voyage again.
Trip itself truly interesting and educational, but boredom of monotony is chief cause off dissention.
Outside of constant fog, weather very mild and strangely worm for this far north - only about 750 from actual pole - still wear shorts or light pyjamas when I find time to sleep.
Very difficult because of daylight effect-constantly.
Had snowfall again - am imagining folks in States all at beaches and enjoying summer breezes and picnics, etc. Here, we're still enjoying water and ice and sky and water, Ice and sky again and again.
Through flakes one can barely make out other ships in task force - it's now that, since we've been joined by 15 or 20 more ships, Tankers, LCD Troop Ships, tugs, APA's etc.
It's really a sight to see them all in formation now - you can't see the last one, they're strung out so deep.
Plan to have a turkey meal for chow today at noon - I bet dollars to donuts that men and crew will appreciate change.
Went to LST 509 and secured $12,500 but due to fog and snow was forced to return to 980 until weather permits distribution of funds to civilians on other ships - men here all paid and gambling prevailed in every conceivable corner of the lower deck.
I guess men will be men, and gambling is as much part of the Navy as ball bottom trousers.
Oh well, everyone to his own likes.
Still play cards with Commander, and still wreck him.
Met Lt. Commander McHenry from Admiral Britains Staff, and heard bull session of Staff's war experiences.
Can't emphasize the wonderful treatment and cooperation men have received from all the officers of convoy - from ensigns to Admiral - truly remarkable considering the number of constant gripes we've had with them.
Gambling still prevails - men too occupied by element to find time to gripe, but soon money will he distributed among select few and they'll revert to gripes of old -
Heard Sox beat Yanks and as usual felt badly - I guess Sox in this year, but I'll try to keep hex on them.
More good news - ships from States, food and supplies arrived and all ships being replenished - pray that rice diet and the likes disappear from tables, but doubt it.
One more bowl of rice and I'll look like a Chinaman.
Weather holding out very well - warm and pleasant.
Took men in VP's all around with me while I paid other ships.
They were glad to get out and stretch a little.
Took some beautiful shots of huge bergs and they were extremely beautiful.
Men on other ships happier then here, but that's only because food is unquestionably better - only serious worry is still mail - no possible way of getting it from "Blue Jay", but still am trying.
For the l5th day, no progress and men finally resigned to delay and turn of events.
Have brought all my paper work up to date and kept files and accounts straight.
Wen t with Commander Fuller to visit Admiral and General Whitcomb about possible lead up through ice flow, but trip futile again - can't seem to break brasses' complacency and lack of "guts" to tackle job ahead.
After 16 days, weather still mild and griping now at an ebb - too disgusted and plain tired of it all.
Fog comes and goes - one hour it's so dense you can see the bow of the ship from the con deck - then it's so clear, you can see the coastline with all its picturesque fjords, glaciers and mountains of snow peaks.
Received word from Rosemount that one of our NAC men aboard LST 601 had left his wife and three children destitute in Minneapolis without funds or allotment - Plan to see this "skunk" as soon as weather and sea permit to blast the hell out of him.
Wonder how many more men here are on this trip to elude family obligations?
Saw couple of good pictures aboard - the last few "nights" - White Heat with James Carney and Jean Arthur in "You Can't Take it with You - Both were old timers, but both were exciting and very entertaining.
Wrote Mrs. Warring and Ted letters today.
Read up on Bible history and other interesting sagas in history.
Average 3 to 4 hours of sleep daily - lack of physical work leaves us sluggish.
Odd, but lack of sleep hasn't thus far affected sense of reflexes or sharpness.
Plan soon to regulate hours again so's when and If we reach our destination, I be on a normal schedule again.
Caught up on a lot of writing today - Sent cablegrams to executives of Government and NAG - Finally secured warm shoes and other foul weather gear to complete my outfits to a "T"
Plan to visit APA - Duel - about 70 miles away to secure stamps and send letters back to States - hope trip materiallzes.
Visited LST 601 and saw Mr. Dowel. Blasted him and received from him under threat of dismissal an authorization for payment of 40% of his earnings to his family - I had Capt. Whitehorse of the 601 witnessed and notarized it - the skunk claimed he forgot about it, but my ship supt. Mr. Jordan claimed he's the most hated man aboard because of his slyness, temperament, and attitude of selfishness.
To me he appeared the most uncooperative louse I've ever seen.
Returning to the 980 - Commander Fuller informed me we'd start to move North tomorrow - I passed the work around the ship and joy prevailed - If only for the fact that we would move.
It certainly was good news, so I turned in early from an extremely strenuous day.
Sunday - and mass again - it's beautiful outside today - sun's shining and we are moving ever forward to "Blue Jay'
Men now betting on when we arrive - I've taken Tuesday at 2:30PM.
Convoy cruising through perilous ice flow at varying speeds depending on hazards of bergs and ice slush - Men all agog over splendours of glaciers - which now are only a few miles off.
Finished writing a couple more letters home, will have a small batch ready by the time we arrive - I pray they're not a censored.
Took more snap shots of surroundings - some through Commander' s binoculars for close-up shots of fjords and glaciers.
Having laundry done for last time I hope before arriving - Men now watch picture "Outpost in Morocco" with George Raft - I wish all could see how brilliant the sun shines - and it's now 9:30PM!!
34th day at sea and as yet no site of Blue Jay - although convoy now through main portion of ice pack, still no visible proof that Blue Jay can be reached soon unless open sea appears from no where.
Our troop ship the Piconic rammed the stern of LST-1144 causing considerable damage while ships weaving through ice pack to elude icebergs.
No personnel lost, but both crews frightened to death practicably since one would die from freezing or exposure if thrown into the water.
Men all on deck watch wonderful way Navy's officers and crew synchronize as a team as orders are flung at them guiding our ship thru perilous waters.
Took snap-shots of convoy as it strung out and circled in and around ice bergs.
Also of silvery sun and beautiful glaciers that were for once - real close to ship and visible in detail.
July 10 Sighted an epic of the true sea tradition - a small Danish rowboat with eleven men all huddled together to keep warm and proudly flying the Danish Flag.
Their fishing ship had been sunk by bergs and they had weathered nature elements until we saved them.
They were all hardy blond Norsemen and very very likeable.
None complained of the disaster - only thanked God of their deliverance.
NAC men and crew chatted all day with saved Danes and heard many remarkable tales.
Ships flow in open water, and unless something unforeseen occurs, will be at Blue Jay sometime today.
Plan to take pictures of beach and landing.
1301. - One minute after l PM "Blue Jay" dropped anchor - men cheering madly - reminiscent of Times Square en New Year's - tears in many eyes as drama of past 5 days at sea now at an end.
Sea choppy and landing impossible for a while as yet - Packed all gear in preparation for debarkation - Saluted Commander and crew and staff and left by LCVP at 5:22 - landed at "Blue Jay" at 5:41.PM.
Met Jack Altig, project Superintendent and assumed official duties at once.
Worked all night since landing coordinating crews and transferring personnel from LSN and LST's to troop ship S.S. Heinzleman which will be used as barrack ship until barracks built.
One can't imagine tremendous scope of job - more equipment located in one place then ever in history of construction.
The above statement happens to be fact.
Received first mail and words can't express my delight.
Everyone else felt same way, as news from home - good or bad, was all that was needed to bolster their morals.
Was assigned one of few barracks already built - shared it with Jim Millette, Base Manager - Mel Poshael, Supt., of Heavy Equipment and Roscoe Duncan - Div. Supt. of Excavation and Fill - men a fine - good companions and real construction men.
They represent the Midwest and Far west predominantly - Jim's from Minnesota - Mel from Nebraska and Roscoe from Denver.
Chow wonderful - every kind o food imaginable - Attended chapel for safe and speedy deliverance from plight.
In constant contact with high Army and Navy officials to make sure no stumble blocks were in the way of successfully completing assigned work.
Took photos of interesting sites.
While in field found deposit of manganite - a mineral rich in iron ore - too bad I've no way of refining it - Completed unpacking and reread all letters from home - before retiring.
July 12 Dense fog in from ice flow has settled over camp - impossible for men berthed on S.S. Heintzeinan, Haan, Herserg and Monrovia to come ashore for work - Army has approximately 3,000 troops here - for what, I don't know.
Wind blew fiercely all day, giving all men ashore terrific wind burns - took out goggles so I could see through savage dust blowing all about us.
Sat in on conferences with Army and NAC officials on matters pertaining to shuttling of troops back and forth from ships in bay to shore, and vice versa - problems of transportation always important - and doubly so in our case, because whole program depends on scheduled arrival and departure times being met.
Men all working 10 hour days - 7 days per week - believe me, we're dead when the weekend comes.
Acted as liaison between my men on 1st Convoy and NAC officials on a few counts today - Men dissatisfied over many conditions (Shuttling, feeding time, cold, fact many wives aren't receiving allotments on time - sickness, etc.)
I tried to answer and aid many in their plight, but general project too large in scope for me to handle, so Jack Altig has assigned staff to lend a hand.
Bedding here ashore still major problem - not enough tents or barracks as yet and no extra beds and blankets - army trying to fly them in in airlift from Westover Field, Mass - this project is main Army Base -
Am very very busy with work here, and am going to have to assign certain days of week as letter writing days.
Supervisors all very very helpful to me and have done everything to make stay pleasant.
Odd to try to sleep here too, as it's bright as day all the time.
Read up on sports, someone had all New York Tribunes for month of June - Attended meeting of Superintendents daily at noon, and surprising how helpful they are in ironing out problems and bottlenecks on job.
Still heavy fog - cold and extremely raw - Visited Eskimo village and saw Eskimo - "Attu" who escorted Commodore Perry through to Pole - He's still allve and kicking even though that eventful trip took place in 1906 - Isn't that wonderful? And the Eskimo kids are all cute - they're dark and resemble Indians or Japs.
We saw them paddle around in their kayaks and play around with their huskies.
Eskimos stink something awful - you can smell one 30 feet away and that's the truth - The village itself comprises only eight or ten families and is considered "out-of-bounds" - I happened to be there with a surveying party.
I try to bring home some souvenirs, but I'll not bank on it, as things are scarce and priceless here - Have heard tales that many polar bears are in this area, so will be on alert - (I'm not a coward exactly, but have plenty of dark meat for them).
Still trying to aid men in settling problems, but to no avail - Checked up on time so my checks would be forwarded promptly and accurately.
Have found that Government doesn't post work to be done - (of secretive nature) then retired at midnight -
Many men have already quit the Government and returned to States - conditions too tough and rugged for them - seems senseless to do that after dangerous 37 days we had on ship and all inconveniences we were put through -
I guess though many are spineless -
Rest of camp gradually falling into the swing of things - Housing still major problem - so's food.
With terrific and constant fog, planes can't land or ships can't dock to bring us necessary provisions.
Whenever a plane does come we have a mail call - and boy oh boy, are the men happy - impossible for me to attempt to explain the power of a letter - of how it can make or break you.
You never know until you miss getting a letter while everyone else is Constantly worried over conditions at home - pray always - Even with chill, still wear under shorts, as I want to get used to cold - otherwise, I have to bundle up like a bear when the fall and winter sets in - Took more scenic photos of unrestricted areas - cameras here are not to be issued, but I've the General's (Whitcomb) permission to be discreet in my choice of photographing.
Saw a cute husky pup, wish I could snag him for my own - don't have any idea who he belongs to.
Navy blasted harbour with TNT to break icepack and permit shuttling service again.
Taste and preparation of food excel for me - for others I don't know.
I'm easy to please on that score anyway.
Pray I lose weight, but Doc's here say you've got to eat a lot to offset cold and energy expended working -
Wake at 4;3OAM every morning - shave - shower - and have breakfast at 6AM - start work at 7AM - and finish at 6PM (one hour for lunch).
In my capacity though I never "knock-off" at 6 - more likely 9 or 10.
LST convoy leaving as they've another trip to make back here - Will sec Commander Fuller in late August when he returns.
Gets very very lonely here at times, so I work all the time to keep myself occupied.
Wish sun would come out and dampness leave - Expect Keith Wasson tomorrow from New York - will be glad to see him, because we've many many things to discuss.
First Saturday ashore - same as all other days as far as weather is concerned - foggy and cold - none at Key Personnel arrived as expected
Still unloading tremendous amount ot machinery and equipnent -
saw Commander Fuller on beach directing operations - good to see him.
Saw two sailors killed when cable on boom broke - bodies to be flown home Monday -
Twenty to twenty-five more dissatisfied NAC workers quit - will be processed out also.
Awaiting eagerly to hear that home has received my first letter - can't understand why mail has not arrived - unless service here is worse than it appears.
Took pictures at more friends in camp - hope they all come out so that I can truly have a complete album when this mission is over - Attended first mass here on shore - Chaplain Clover had Mass - not many attended my service (6:OOAM) but I suspect that others were overflowed - incidently, Chaplain Clover also serves Jews and Protestants.
Took another hike - went way up into the glacier country - it was beautiful. Took shots from mountain side.
My work all restricted, so won't mention it in any of my notes.
Food again running short here at camp. Due to fog air lift canceled and conditions have gradually gotten critical.
Played first game of cribbage on shore with Jim Millette and Mel Poeschl - beat them both - Jim by skunk.
East wind has pushed fog into sea - sun out and everything seemed to brighten with it - morale of men low, because conditions at home unsatis factory, and because shuttle service betwcen shore and Heintzleman very very bad -
Bodies of two sailors flown home - comrades very sad as expected - Have been in contact with Washington to explain seriousness of conditions here, but as yet have not been answered.
Heard American Album of familiar music yesterday at 6:3OPM - I guess it was on Stort wave - the tite I heard it still stymies me, as I recalled it came on at 9 or 9:30 when we used to listen to it in New York.
Have been assigned a Jeep - #20 by the Army Motor Pool and use it regularly - Also learned to become a "cat skinner" - a caterpiller operator, a dozer operator and a shovel operator - the principle at lever's and foot peddles is the same in each so operating them was simplified. It's good to know the operat±ng at all this equipnent - also the maintenance of it.
As yet laundry here hasn't been constructed - wish it were as clean clothes running short.
Had first haircut ashore - Plan to do more letter writing today.
Sunny and mild - weather beautiful - men still quitting by dozen because of home troubles or petty gripes of hardships expected of everyone -
Met Johnny West, Ted and Helene's friend here. He's with Army Transportation Corps - He recognized me when I went into GHQ to 3peak to General Whitcomb - after my visit he came over and said - Don't I know you from somewhere?
Well, needleas to say we soon were chatting of Brooklyn, card playing etc.
He's first close person I've seen on whole trip - NAC, Navy and Army alerted not to go to Eskimo ar Danish Village to trade - High brass issued order when sailor wandered in Eskimo Village and purchasid small pup - that area is all "out-of-bounds".
The Danes have a Government weather bureau here -
Saw "I was a Communist in the F.B.I," also "Half Angel" with Loretta Young and Joseph Cotton - both very good pietures.
Have been assigned temporary night shift for work - this actually doesn't matter, because it's all daylight here.
Odd phase though is you may be eatlng chicken for breakfast without knowing It, as what's one shifts breakfast is another shift's dinner -
4,500 more troops landed - makes a total of 10,000 Navy and Army personnel now beached here - Beat Moose Gruenwald - Supt. for Eleotrical Division - 10 games of crib - 6 skunks -
Have been challenged by Jack Altig, Project. Supt - will accept naturally.
Mr. keith Wasson arrived from Rosemount - explained he had been notified by New York and Washington of my salary mixup - was told Norfolk lost some of my papers when I headed convoy there at Hampton Roads - matter will be fixed up and salary adjusted.
Installed new system of shuttle service between barrack shipa, APA's and beach for men berthed aboard. 1st ship men are billeted an USS Gen. Greeley - men live on ships - Taxie by LSM to shore and work on beach or other divislons - 10 in all -
Systems all fouled up because icebergs and ice pack in bay hampers travel between ships and beach - this hurts schedule - men finish work and wait, wait, wait - that's the main gripe.
Had our Tent remodeled - side benches, table and clothing racks installed.
Had jeep overhauled - issued new one by Anny motor pool - tried riding 20 ton Eclid trucks and 15 ton Dumps with four wheel drive, but after riding jeeps, the big babies really louse you up. They fed so clumsy and helpless. The little jeeps go scooting in and out of every section of area on the base.
Mr, Green, Liason between NAC, Government and Services, informed me of proposed future base operations to start maybe next year at satellite - (Perry land) Will be informed in detail later, as he expects me to take charge of operations.
Sunny and warm - terrain very dry and dusty - At noon meeting Mr. Keith Wasson read to Div. Supt's. a conimunique from Navy Department expressing how good I had kept the NAC personnel in line and how helpful and courteous I was - He then officially promoted me to be Assistant to the Asst. Construction Superintendent - after meeting, all Division Superintendents congratulated me -
Was told to board S.S. Heintzelman and straighten out problems between NAC officials on board and NAC personnel living aboard ship - At 1:3OAM finished coodinating and adjusting most of problems - retired at 3:3OAM.
Continued warm and mild temperatures - assumed duties of Asst. Project manager - Assigned 1 ton pick-up and jeep to cover extremeties of project -
Plan to do writing today - was warned by Army not to go into glacier or mountain ranges even for hike unless accompanied by three or more people.
Took pietures of beautiful chubby little Eskimo Dogs - Wanted to buy one, but was told dogs couldn't live in States - would get distemper and die -
Sat around with Col. DeLong of DeLong Engineering listening to tales of bears, wolves, etc. Very exciting and interesting.
Sunny and warm - extremely beautiful weather for this far north - Working as hard as ever with new duties and responsibilities - Have cooperation of men on convoy, so task easier than my first impression of it would be - Col. DeLong took pictures of all NAC executives in group - also 100 feet of 16 unit pictures in technicolor of surrounding activities. Will make duplicate and give me a roil.
Men still quitting because checks have failed to arrive at their respective homes. Company and government doing utmost to correet conditions, but mixup still prevails.
Am learning a tremendous amount of constructton "know how" - mainly by listening. Amazing how much you can learn from the rank and file of every job.
Took Gen. Bissorn, who just arrived, and Generals Whitcomb and Vaughan on tour of work done thus far - drove them in my jeep -
They were glad when tour was over - I guess they didn't like my driving.
Eagerly awaiting word from home that my letters have arrived - as yet no news. Had another offer to buy Eskimo dog, but again refused him - although I'd loved to have owned him, he was a little fluffy white ball. Sorry to read Yanks aren't doing too well - Hope Joe Dimaggio gets on beam.
Sunday - didn't appear like holy day. Work - dust - rumble of noise - hustle and hustle - more like Times Square - still, were all working toward a common goal - 7 days a week we work to finish job at hand.
Attended mass - spoke to new Chaplain, Father Wollott -
Tried to find time to play soft ball, but overloaded with work - Days still warm and sunny - had quite a few beautiful days since arriving. Routine of daily work cuts down writing matter to record.
Will make attempt to specify only important data.
Sunny and warm - received first letter from home informing me you've at last received my mail - big load off my mind now. Am happy everything OK there.
25 more quit to go home - too bad things have to linger so. Pay is too important an issue to take it in natural stride.
Food very very good, but will start on diet again - feel sluggish - and with all work and responsibilities, have to hop around quickly, not drag myself around.
Surveyed complete project by jeep, will make initial reports at meeting of Division Superintendents.
Was moved out of barracks I had had since arriving, am now with Joe Fraps, Chief Engineer - Jim Whitiker - Asst. Chief Engr. and Jim Symonds, Labor Relations Man. All around wonderful men.
Eagerly await news from home - can't imagine how morale bolstering they are
Had more pictures taken with General Whitcomb and Col. Booknan - Since we depend so much on harmony with NAC - Army and Navy, Washington has given me Civillan rank equivalent of Colonel. Now liaison work to be done is easier. Many times Generals Vaughan or Whitcomb not at headquarters, minor officers refused to take responsibibity to divulge information necessary to continue work, or take orders from civilians to secure needed data - that's all cleared now with commission.
British Lancaster landed on final hop between Alaska and England, flying new top of world route with special instruments to determine shortest possible route to Russia.
Had another visit with Attu - wonderfui to hear tales of last fifty years here in north and adventures encountered. Weather still holding out - sun and mildness a phenomena here for this length of time. Officially assumed duties and responsibilities as Asst. Gen. Supt. for 2nd shift. Pray I can uphold confidence entrusted in me as position is 3rd highest, an prestige is tremendous considering this is largest construction job ever undertaken by government in history of country - will have to use tact and diplomacy, as envy of men could easily be stirred up by fact that I'm still only 30 years old. Pretty difficuit to coordinate men older unless you have their respect and confidence.
will do everything in my power to give all a fair deal in whatever medium the government and they are involved.
Retired at l1:AM after 21 hours of work in new position - Didn't know so much work could be thrust on one being in such a short span of time. 10 different divisions to coordinat.e, (1) Engineers, (2) Tank Division, (3) Business (4) Army & Navy (5) Excavation & Fill (6) Orushing & Paving (7) Building Division (8) Equipment (9) Outside Utilities (10) Beach unloading and Warehouse Division - Believe you me, they need an octopus not me to ever attempt to do the right thing -
In fairness to all, we the 10, or 20 if you inciude both shifts, most capable experts in their fieids in the country as division heads and assistants. Since in my position I can see the overall picture, and they can't it's difficult to expiain to then why we do things which may to them appear wrong. They are interested in their own Division only, and it's only natural as they have a schedule to meet, but it's up to Jack and Frank and I to blend in all of the divisions so that the job as a whole doesn't suffer - even though that can be done sometlmes by weakening one division by transfering some of it's personnel to another division.
In all cases we can see the priority areas that must be catered to before others - certainly there is no need for the electrical division to be fully manned before the Building division who are doing the actual building, because there's nothing to wire until something is built - or the fact that since all our materials are still arriving by convoy, we still have the Beach Division as the triple "A" priority job here for the time being, because unless they unload everything, none of the subsequent divisions can hope to function properly - you see then what our task is - we give a little and take a little, always with the overall job at interest no matter who suffers. Again -I pray I can handle all of the hundred an one problems that arise, plus the ever constant liasion work always required between the Architect-Engineers and the Army and Navy.
Continued sunny and warm - 2nd shift no different than lst as both shifts have continuous day - Had laundry done again - Visited chaplain and conversed with him for hours on current events and personallties - Man killed while workin on Col. DeLong's dock - He was fixing cable on top of huge work crane when shift of wind rocked boat -the crane swerved into caisson, buckling the boom at joints - as that happened, the worker was jarred loose from the top of boom and he toppled headon into the frigid ocean with the top joint of the boom crashing down on him - Body taken to S.S. Heintzelman - embalmed and put in casket and flown to Westover Field - this was second such accident in 10 days - Had pictures taken by Jim Symonds for publication in Kiewit News - Had first serious argument since assuming position as 2nd shift General Superintendent had to read riot act to office clerk who overstepped self in argument with General Foreman. Was told by Keith Yasson and Jack Altig that in order to demand respect, one has to install a get tough policy immediately because once men get their way, foundation for dissension and unrest laid - then it's too late to properly organize or coordinate.
Finally hit sack at 11AM after 21 continuous hours of work -
Extremely cold and foggy - 1st such weather for over two weeke - strange after all beautiful weather we've had. Eagerly awaiting news from home - miss hearing from everyone - Navy alerted - storm coming up - Admiral Britain ordered all navy ships out to sea for protection - when ships remain in bay, or harbor, ice pack crushes them to pieces.
Went on 42 mile hike with Gen. Whitcomb - Col. Mowberry and Col. Bookman - Traveled up to glacier believed to be millions of years old - was fed a bar of chocolate and some solid gelatin - Amazing how General Whitcomb stands strain of long hike without batting an eye - walked along crevis's in a glacier 1,000 yards deep and snow pockets a mile or two deep. Sights beautiful all over - followed polar bear footprints for miles, didn't ses one, only walrus and seal - also amazed to find walrus and seal spend considerable time living on land and not water. Returned and entered chow hall by back door - General astounded by news NAC and Corps of Engineers had organized groups of rescue workers just in case we got lost somewhere.
More problems arose on payroll, and almost had mass evacuation of groups under me on LST 525 and 1041 - Finally ordered payroll Department to make up supplementary payroll and insure each of 94 men their pays would be made up. Had some difficulty getting department to respect orders, but a little personal persuasion and threat of sending them back to "States" brought then around to my way of thinking. Men now all extremely satisfied - a good sign for morale - hope it infiltrates others who unfortunately are still low from number of reasons - Still taking lessons on all type of equipment - now can operate with some degree of usefulness a scraper, grader, dozer "D8", "D6" & "D4" - motorpatrol, traxcavator - caterpiller tractor, crane, shovel - Euclid 15 ton trucks - jeeps - "Ducks" - LCVPIs - also learned how to properly weld 10"- 12" and 16" pipe-line with initial weld known as the "stringer" weld, the 2nd operation known as the "hot pass" and the final phase known the "filler head" - all quite interesting and useful. Together with experience already received in billeting of men, debarkation a both men and equipment, inspection of equipment, handling of 1038 men while on convoy, liason work done for NAC between Army and Navy - the wonderful personallties and friendships made during trip and the chance now open to me to learn ten different division operations and procedures plus the overall coordinating and organizing of same has truly been of tremendous beneficial aid in building up a reservoir of resrve knowledge I could never have acquired in States for a million dollars and 25 years to attain.
I thank God for being fortunate enough to be chosen for all of these positions and mostly for giving me the opportunity and aptitude for learning everything so quickly and successfully as I have - I pray I don't fall back on the confidence the government and NAC has in me - and make good on this last and most important of all the assipnments I've had entrusted to me -
Still foggy and dismal - am told weather resembles that of Alaska - near Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian chain of Islands. Am doing best coordinating whole of 2nd shift and find that I am getting well rounded knowledre of different activities going on here - Study nights on my calculus and higher trig and Logs to insure speedier calculating and estimating while in field.
Attended general court martial - colored soldier knifed by white soldier from Brooklyn - boy sentenced 2-5 years. Colored boy in serious condition. Went to Thule again and took added shots of Attu and Eskimo village - people and dogs all friendly now - big change since they've discovered we mean them no harm.
Men arriving by airlift constantly - place still a bee hive of activity - Was glad to receive pictures of Tommy and Susan - both very cute - Tommy looks good in crew cut.
Told by General Whitcomb - next time I decide to go an hike to ice cap to always be sure three or more people accompany me. Shall do!!!
Received more mail from home - can't. express what a morale booster mail is, and how deep an impression it leaves an one's heart - miss everyone very much - I guess Sun is through coming out - haven't seen it for four or five consecutive days - weather still misty and dull - not too cold, but very dreary like -
Working at five quarries and taxi way to main air-strip - also on Hangars. The Texas pipe line group weiding sanitation pipe and fuel pipe through area - Chicago Bridge and Iron assembling tremendous 500,000 gallon tanks, of which they'll be 78 of - We now have 6 completely assembled and as soon as sub-terranian pipe adjected to them, they'll be ready for use - In future I guess no tankers will venture this far north to replenish fuel.
Quarries going full blast supplying rock, gravel and various types of aggregate needed for excavation and back fill purpose throughout job site Beach division still doing phenomenal job warehousing all of equipment and material debarked from all victory and supply ships in harbor -
Buliding division still on priority listing building as many prefabricated aluininum barracks as possible for workers to eventually live in - time running short, since Admiral Britain has ordered all Navy vessels to leave bay and head south the week of August 23rd - seems after that date the whole area hereabouts becomes one solid mass of ice and could cause considerable damaage to fleet if it were iced in - this retreat alec includes the barrack ships - the S.S. Gen. Greeley and S.S. Gen. Heintzleman and the S.S. Gen. Eltinge which as yet hasn't arrived, but should in a day or two.
So, as you see, it is imperative that all the barracks are built to accommodate all of the workers - otherwise we may bé forced to ground the barrack ships and purposely scuttle them for useage.
The army personnel intends after bases hare are built and civilians depart, to man barracks themselves. Set-up here odd - job overloaded with supervision - One foreman for every three pieces of equipment and one foreman for every ten workers - Imagine this a main base for future operation hereabouts, with this base supplying manpower too - rumors of Satellite and Perry Land almost confirmed for opertion next year.
Bases for air force as protective medium against Russia of tremendous importance for survival of America.
Continued fog - still pretty chilly. Received word S.S. Gen. Eltuge due tomorrow with 807 more workers - Processing them will be easier, as experience of past should elindnate many errors we made on my convoy.
All divisions will be strengthened by added personnel - many badly needed suppiies to arrive also - Impossible to imagine role played by "spare parts" on project of this size - Machinary and eauipment has only a limited guaranteed life span unless spare parts are avaiiabie.
Suppliers in States doing darndest to meet delivery dates, with Triple A priorities and D.0. (Directive Orders) from War Manpower Boards, but still material coming in slowly.
Each day that passes am putting another stone in my foundation of learning, to insure my future and backpround in this interesting and difficult field of endeavor. Am slowly starting to like job - maybe because it's starting to make sense to me where before it was completly befuddling - time will tell.
Had skirmish with wolves again - couple of dogs killed - nothing dramatic, didn't even see them myself, but was told by Army guards - Will have many exciting yarns to weave when I return for Christmas -
7th or 8th day of mist - I guess its matching our two beautiful weeks of sunshine - 3 Army ducks sank in water with complete loss of material - colored Army operators saved, but all in hospital suffering from exposure - imagine fall in icy water with bergs all around.
Secured additional warm army gear from General Whitcomb and Major Campbell - a present for helping out as I have - Have made many many many friends with hiph ranking Army and Navy officers since coming here - pray friendship everlasting.
S.S. Gen. Elterg arrived - men all processed aboard - work clock around, and completely worn out - Answered a billion questions on conditions here at Thule - families - money matters, working conditions, living quarters, food, recreation, types of eciuipment on job, reclassification, etc. - extremely interesting to chat with new arrivals, but tiresome.
Much of badly needed material in this third convoy - will be unloaded and Thule will really be buzzing from now on. Met many of Washington, Rosemount, New York and Norfolk co-workers - pleased to meet all. Will spend tomorrow sleeping I hope -
First beautiful and mild day in over a week - sun out brilliantly shining on bergs, ice caps, glaciers, mountains and land cheering everything up a bit - had frozen strawberrys for dinner desert. - tasted like heaven.
Men on Eltrige all resigned to fate of those an Heintzeiman and Greely.
Organization now more closely knitted - less griping in general, and workers more or less resigning themselves to tasks before them. Area all cleared of excess equipment and service as well as civilian personnel alerted that General Vandenberg and staff arriving from Washington for tour of inspection. Place really jumping -
Roommate Jim Millett - Business Div. Supt. very very ill - has infection of middle ear which disturbs his sense of balance. Whenever he turns his head, he up-chueks - He's really in sad state.
Saw movie "To Please & Lady" with Clark Gable and Barbara Stanwyck - pretty good considering scarcity of movies -
Had new jeep assigned to me - will take bumps better -
All Division Supt's. of tremendous aid to me - all have pitched in to make my work easier -
Cen. Vandenberg's stay here was very brief. How he could properly survey the whole area, confab with his immediate subordinates, eat, visit all the top Navy and NAC personnel in such a short span of time is utterly amazing - the worst part of it is that he'll probably write or have his staff write a 20,000 page analysis of the overall picture here and present it to the other phonies in the hite House and pentagon.
Sun still out and sky is clear with beautiful strata clouds overhead.
Lt. Doug Downs, the official Army photographer, who in private life is Time Magazine's top photo expert, left job site with negatives of goings on and presented copies to the officials at the Pentagon.
He also buying a wonderful camera for me plus Koda-color films.
Plan to play crib championship and hearts championship tonight an board S.S. Greeley. Up to now, finished month with l28 wins and 7 losses for one division singles lead - won four out of four in eliminations playoff - best four out of seven - took four out of five in semi-finals and have fingers crossed for tonight's action. In hearts, accumulated 10.059 points as to 153 points against me - this took all 100 games played - in semi-finals took four out of six games - 474 points against 212 points. ill pray for luck in this also.
Tournaments of an types now started by recreation officers to keep minds active and away from thoughts of home. Will help morale tremendously.
Well, Folks, I won a double-header last nite - took crib singles champ 13 to 3 in best out of 25 series - and hearts title 6 games to 1 in best out of 10 sets. I accumnulated 615 points to 89. My award was $25.00 worth of chit books for purchasing candy and the like from PX.
Good weather again, might just as well enjoy it, because when the cold comes, be miserable for a long, long time.
Out in the dirt spread, there were reports that black and white fox were sighted - the eskimos say they are silver fox - that they change color during the off season as a protection - I guess they know what they're talking about, because the color of them now perfectly matehes the terrain, and by a same token I'd imagine being all silver, or white would match the snow in winter.
Again there were reports of Polar Bear being around camp, most of the ash and trash cans were overturned, and a husky is missing. The barracks are slowly but surely being built, I pray we finish them before the real cold sets in - 100,000 more cases of beer arrived - this is the sole drink on this site except for water or coffee - no milk, no tea, no tonic, no nothing.
We have a 24 hour guard on it, because it's very valuable as a trading agent to some people - our civilians have been warned not to venture too close to the warehousing area of it, but still many try to slip by and steal some.
I hope it's passed out soon, because a condition like this could get dangerous when the dusk sets in and the Army is told to fire on anyone attempting to steal - you can imagine some gun happy rebel shooting at the first rustle he hears.
Had to move Wanagan situated on top 'H" mountain back to camp site - distance 0f seven miles of rough terrain. It was used by Danes as a weather observation post and now since abandoned. Sent cat and cat-skinner to retrieve it - 14 hours later they arrived in camp, exhausted, but successful.
The beautiful twilight still fills the sky, and I'm eagerly awaiting Koda-color films from home, to record splendors of the natural panorama.
Since Jack Altig left for States, Frank Paduan and I have split the load of accumuulated back-log of work and tried our best to relieve pressure points on job or within any or all divisions.
Only with continued full cooperation of Supt's. and men can that be accomplished succesafully.
Keith Wasson and Jim Symonds planning to return to States soon also - they are preparing for tremendous job government proposing for Orinoco Valley - Vene zuela.
Plus that, government plans to use this site a main operation point and construct two more such bases further north at Perry Land and Satalite. All other arteries may be fed from this base also.
The brilliance and beauty of day spoiled by another inexcusable accident which cost four lives, and brouht court-martial and dishonor to fifth. Six officers and l8 enlisted men borrowed six weasels for trip to glacier - as they passed over ice cap, it caused cave in and they plunged through ravine a couple of thousand feet below - Major saved self by leaping at last possible moment from last car - sent to hospital for shock, but will be court-martialed and broke.
Am planning to fly over heart of Pole and join select cirele - I pray all goes well.
Received Mary Knoll literature from home, was more than pleased to receive it - Saw movies "I can get it Wholesale" with Dan Dailey and Susan Haywood - I thought George Sanders stole show -
Attended Mass in evening since I'm on 2nd shift - quite novel after going mornings all my life.
Chatted on politics with priest and executives here and finally convinced same that Russia will have just as much advantage from this project as we do as we in middle of top of world route to her.
Can't see how many of these officers becane officers - have no reasoning power at all - I guess they're all reserveists - Only Generals Vaughan and Whitcomb snap them into anything that resembies a unit of officers - they actually jump when they snap out orders.
Will have to double civilian guards. 75,000 more cases of beer arrived - I guess they'l1 be a great time at Thule Tavern one of these days as soon as its allocated to each man.
I hope it's not for a while, the morale of the men is just getting back to normal, and tipsyness could upset the whole works again -
Retired at 8:3OAM and believe you me, I really was tired -
Awakened at noon - was told to attend important conference at Staff Headquarters. Am to prepare to leave on S.S. Greeley sometime this week for Pole itself - Added research and exploration - will be one of 15 who will make op pioneer party in polar areas.
Will certainly look forward to it - mystery of mission very intriguing, hope we are allowed to take pictures. Tried to sleep after meeting, but too excited and a bit nervous. Sun shone brightly and all the sky glowed in radiance.
Four beautiful, mild, clear, sonny days - ones promising to bring only good - Bob Mayer, the Business manager from New York arrived to try and straighten out payroll difficulties -
4th convoy of two LST's - 3 Liberties and 1 APO arrived brining more equipment and foul weather gear for men. The gear was God sent, because although there's no darkness between the hours of 7:PM and 7AM, still it plenty cold. This is last of the ships to come from States - present group of ships in harbor plan to evacuate on or about August 25th.
The proposed trip further north I'm to take may take place in a day or two - No one stiil knows anything about it.
Dissension among men still brought about because of dispute over pay shortage or lack of receiving pay at respective homes. Plan to see Army Auditors on these deplorable circumstances and aid as many of these unfortunates as I can - many live from pay day to pay day, and missing one really puts them behind the proverbial 8 ball. Add how little the government reacts to a problem that is of such magnanamous proportions - The general overall morale of the projects is governed by the behaviour and working aptitude of it's men - how then they cannot see the gross injustice and harm they themselves have done toward sabotaging their own efforts - A communist purposely placed in a position to disrupt and cause strife and turmoil couldn't possibly have done a better job - I got to take actions in my own hands and follow through with it - no use starting an action of this importance unless firmly resolved to see it through completely and correctly to the ultimate end.
Visited Thule by Kiyak - paddled six miles around Mount Dundas - Day again beautiful - sunny and cool - but extremely clear skies. Started at 8AM immediately atter finishing work -
Visited Ootak and Carapalu Perry - Perry's eskimo son - also had snapshots taken with them. Took koda-color shots of beautiful Eskimo baby - called Yench. People extremely primitive, but very sincere, simple, happy and hospitable. Eskimo dogs very sly and treacherous. Saw Polar bear skins - teeth - clothing, and ornaments made from ivory from walrus tusks.
Kyaks all made of seal skin and placed high above ground so dogs won't eat them.
Carapalu is greatest hunter of village, having just come back from trip to mountain fjords with 13 seals. Strange how little these people know of guns and their care and still manage to be expert shots - Almost to a man, these Eskimoes leave their rifles outside their respective huts, barrel facing the sky, withstanding all of the varieties of weather and the rust, these guns still shoot just as accurately as the best tendered ones.
The Eskimo dog crys and howls - none bark - possibly attributed to their primitive instincts. Entered a numher of huts and conversed as best I could through the medium of a work book with them.
Surprised beyond imagination to ses the number of holy pictures that decorated the otherwise barren walls.
Customs here are quaint, but extremely perplexing and difficult to believe unless actually here to prove. Families adopt one another without interference from anyone. There's no police or military law - no chief - no taxes - no one lies, cheats or steals, people respeet themselves and one another and each contributes his share of help toward the good af the settlement itself - when the men leave to go on these long hunting trips, they're usually joined by tribes from the south -
The women in all cases are left back and alone -
Throughout the long winter months they sew mucklucks - (Fur boats made of seal or Polar Bear skins - it requires chewing the skin for flexability prior to atual cutting and sewing) also fur hats, pants and jackets - each is an art in its own right. I've never seen a more even mobile stitch then that made by these friendly little dark people as they sew each seam.
The poverty goes without saying - yet, I feel deep in my heart that they really are poor in worldly goods only - they all are hardy and live to a ripe old age - their health is superb in view of the lack of nourishments available. Knowingly or not they have the basic ingredients of happiness. They have the finest clothes hands can make, have a roof over their head, a family, a gun and have a natural habit for work - laziness is a lost word here, as attested by the tremendous amount of work accomplished by the children - And, children I do mean, because they start working from the time theytre 6 or 7 and by the time they're 20, they are hardy and industrious and considerably aged.
There is no sanitation, no doctors, health clinics - stil, the people thrive and outlive their southern educated and civilized brothers. I attribute this to the germ free cold air and region in general.
After bidding all adieu, returned to base to resume duties -
6:30PM. Spent hectic night doing liaison work between AE, Army and NAC to try and secure motor cranes for division that required them.
Had jeep stolen, but had security police beate it for me.
Sunday. Attended mass at 5AM, and completed rest of shift - real tired, but had too much to do yet before I would let myself retire -
Reported everts of shift to Frank Paduan, then prepared my notes and went to Army and started process of making out supplementary payroll for all men of lst Convoy.
Foggy and drizzling out - perfect day to carry on inside work - Eyes very tired - starting third day without sleep.
Fi nished payroll and had it approved and certified by all concerned - happy, and contented, because I know I've kept my promise to the men - l038 men should be a little happier today. Feeling so good inside when you know you've accomplished something regardless of the risk involved and the fact you did it on your own initiative. I guess you can't be shot or scolded for trying to do good - whether your doing it with someone's consent or not, or whether you succeed or fail.
Hit the sack at 2PM - extremely tired and with the unpleasant knowledge that I'd have to be up at 5:30 to resume taking over my shift - As I laid in bed prior to actually falling asleep, thought how very very fortunate Ootah and his people were - away from this whirling, noisy, corrupt, unpredictable supposedly civilized and advanced world - what a laugh - one truly at us, not they, for we are the ones that should be pitied. We are the ones who need help and salvation and are too stupid and want only blind to see or admit it -
6:30 - One hour late - lucky to be up at all I guess - Received note at work that tomorrow is the day I've been waiting for - Spent night at mass again and in consultation with Father Wolott - will need plenty of spiritual strength where we going, and heavenly food just as nourishing for soul as tasty foods for system - Had all gear prepared and put on S.S. Greeley - Hit sack at 11:33 quite exhausted.
Cold, extremely foggy - boarded ship. Mailed few post cards and prepared for debarkation. 9:30 lifted anchor and using radar and sonar wended our way our of Blue- Jay bay through ice field into open sea -
Men grim - certainty of success of voyage very doubtful - danger lurks every mile of the way from now on - these are known to be the waters most feared by an seamen.
Attended special mass in ship's chapel - These A-P-A' s are veritable luxury liners manned by merchant seamen all thoroughly experiended in way of sea life - The true tradition of sea is best exemplified by its Skipper - Capt. Kiely.
Attended conference of proposed route to be taken, and studied up on alert signals and the like. While rest of chosen group played poker, Capt. Kiely - General Whitcomb - Jack Altig and I chartered course. All agreed that If proposed passage blocked by ice, S.0.S. be sent out for ice breaker "Kashmir Howe" to come to aid - and ship anchor at designated area while expeditionary group continues on copter carried by ship -
On ship's radio, picked up word from Blue Jay, that three more men were killed - due entirely to fog - I had a D-W 10 slip on embankment and crush worker against small pick-up - one died as a result of crash between two 20 ton Euclid trucks and one died of loss of blood when artery was severed while oiling gears of shovel - operator actually couldn't see that far in front of him and started motors - which caused accident.
Quelled potential furore of ill feeling aboard ship by telling men that religion doesn't acknowledge superstitions, and regardless of it being the l3th, accidents caused by man failure to be perfect - a fact well proven through the last 1951 years since Christ's death - I admitted the fog made conditions considerably dangerous and unworkable, but I still pointed out that equipment and motors are made by man, and the artificial embankments were made by man. That all accidents are attributed to our imperfections - since only God was, is and shall be the only perfect beirg through all eternity.
Patience and analysis of explanation helped insecure minds adjust themselves - doubt I'll have as many worried souls from here in - Amazing what part the influence of religion plays during a period of troubled turbulent uncertain times - Odd how the week become strong, the cowards become brave, the sheep become leaders - it's wonderful to know you've found the peace of mind, the adjusting of faith, all because of the glorious charity and acknowledgnent of a supreme being ever watchful over you.
2nd day out - foggy - dreary and cold - visibility limited to bow of ship - Capt. Kiely worried about growlers and ice bergss - not for himself, but for crew and ship. The pride of all Captain's are their ships - they hate even a scrateh to mar her sides - Taken down sick for first time since leaving Norfolk - Doc claims it's fatigue - can't argue, too tired. Stayed in bed all day. Wondered how everyone at home was - imagined thriil of seeing ball-games, eating beans and franks, being with loved ones, yet, honor and respect to country never will die in me - regardless of how much I suffer or what befalls me. If need be, would make supreme sacrifice to uphold principles of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness as prescribed by forefathers. To me "Blue Jay and it's far flung outposts are the present day equivilent to the basic elements of the Monroe Doctrine - that of the preservation of our western Hemisphere against all enemies - The security rightfully fought for and earned by her people - we are here only because through our past unrivaled dramatic history men have died for ideals, and, tradition has it that we today insure the path for a better world and safer America by succeeding in our proposed work in advanced research, development and exploration. If we do this, there can be no doubt but tomorrow will be a better day for all the world - that tomorrow the sun will shine not only for America, but for all, that the future will be safe, and man will once and for all dispell all fears of doom and annihilation.
Continued study on navigation and chart making, believe I could pass test for navigator if need be - Inspected and cleaned all instruments needed at Pole for research.
Ship attaining 15 knots, and should be, barring icee hold up, at destination late tomorrow night or Wednesday moming -
Ate in bed, played crib with Jack - won eight games to none - Retired at 11PM a little more relaxed, but still quite weak -
2:3OAM awakened by sudden dropping of anchor and confusion outside stateroom - Ice flow to thick and dangerous to penetrate, advised by Gen. Whitcomb to secure gear and equipment for trip on foot - only 78 miles from Pole itsel ice 8 to 15 feet thick, plenty safe for our small party. Plenty of work to do ahead before the darkness befalls us.
Equipped self with medallions, fur lined Parker, gun and equipment on back, snow shoes and food and small party left ship at 7AM - with 5 sets of dog teams and necessary provisions.
lce very solid under foot maldng travel easier - Experience of being at pole still amazing - that here I am making history. One of 15 men whom fate has pitted together for a common good.
The weather was 30 below zero, the wind razor sharp, but single file we marched ever closer to our goal.
The terrain is all ice - mountains of snow and ice wherever the eye can see - My strength sinking fast, because fever and fatigue still battling inside of me - took shots of whiskey to stimulate nerves and for strength, but feel only rest will help - After six or seven hours at steady walking, rested to eat.
General Whltconib and Jack Altig decided this a good operations point - site perfect for camp. Put up tent and secured it with pinions and turnbuckles and clevis stuck in ice - Through binoculars could see only miles at waste ice and snow - not a living thing save for arctic birds or gulls.
Prepared instruments for next days exploration tour - Put canvas tarpaulin on ice to act as floor, and adjusted portable stove for use.
Huskies all curled up together, with noses lost under their tails - When tent heated, removed part of clothing to take penicilin shots - almost froze, so believe I'll not remove them repardless of what befalls me in future. Rested balance of day. Missed good meal, but pills induced needed sleep and that needed more than full stomach.
General and Jack planned on splitting party up with six going with General for test boring - six going with Jack for geodetic surveys - and three would remain in camp caring for provisions and keeping necessary data of proceedings - I was selected for Jack's group. Felt much better after much needed rest, and more like myself again - Fit as a fiddle and prayed to be less burdensome than I had proved thus far -
9AM left camp and headed with party straight north - wind and cold still prevailed, but warm clothing protected us perfectly - Huskies traveled at good clip, so our goal was expected by morning - Joe Kearns and Matt Fritsch, two more of our party, sighted a polar bear through glasses, but quite far off so no inmiediate danger anticipated - Mile after mile of endless ice and snow passed by, and still scenery didn't change one iota -
According to calculator, we were 27 miles from Pole - and membership to seléct club of few individuals.
Stopped twice for chow and rest - dogs all hungry and tired too.
These huskies are tremendously large and strong - some weighing ciose to 8O pounds. The savagery in them is attested by their code of all ready to kiil or be killed - the survival of the fittest - through instinct, once a dog is down, he's a goner - the rest charge in for the kill. They attack either by attempt to sever the juggler vein or by clamping their huge jaws about a leg and chrushing it -
It's unsafe for us even to kneel or turn our backs to the pack, for they'll attack even humans when hungry.
After our rest period we continued again - winding mile after mile over chopped broken ice and jagged treacherous snow caps - At lO:17PM we arrived at the Top of the world - the North Pole - Here we were Jack, Joe Kearns, Matt, George Ruth, Marion Johnson and I - we all cangratulated one another and took snapshots - then we pitched a tent and proudly placed an American and a confederate flag over it (George Ruth was from Virginia)
By use of instniments we determined the actual polar location and jokingly walked around it saying we could walk around the world in less than a minute.
After thanking God for our safe deliverance, curled up in sleeping bag and hit the hay.
Throughout an unbearably cold and wind howling night I tried to sleep, but it's impossible to express the cold that can so thoroughiy and completely paralyze you - Without a wink at sleep, I arose for a strenuous day ahead -
The snow was falling with blizzard velocity when our crew started setting up our instruments to record the necessary data we had come here to find - After 7 hours of continuous work, we huddled together to keep from freezing while we ate - Took some shots of storm, but doubt they'll come out - Have radio contact with other field parties - all is well in other camps also -
Affect at lack of sleep plus low resistance starting to take hold on me - pray I can last until we hit the ship and medical attention again - Jack and I took extra precautions - on our guard, since bear reported hereabouts - now confronted with danger, no more joking about bear rugs -
At 10:30 PM wind recorded at 111 miles per hour, and temperature 78° below zero -
My beard has icicies - also my eye-brows and eyelashes - This whole experience is a dream, it's come true, and I don't quite know how to cope with it - I pray we succeed - all of us.
2nd day at pole - wind still swirling snow all about - temperature fell to 83° during night - Slept a little from sheer exhaustion, but thoughts of home and possibility of bear around kept me from having a restful one - shivered constantly, but am starting to aclimate skin to bitter cold -
Ate chocolate bar for breakfast - too cold to sit around and wait for food to be prepared - Miss good old beans and franks - also salami and cheese - boy oh boy, better keep quiet, getting stomach pains just thinking of it -
Joe Kearns ill, think it's food poisoning - too much canned food no good at this altitude and climate without proper preparation.
Matt attending him - they're old buddies - Johnson, Ruth and I studied instruments and kept records of findings - experimented with newest guages - at all times, one guarded with rifle - other two who worked.
Radio messages report all NAC executives due at Blue Jay by end of week to straighten out indifferences that have arisen since job started -
Stiil 83° - 85 below zero - wind subsided a little, but fierceness of it still capable of blinding you -
I fed all the dogs for first time - (each takes turns) - they appear very friendly, but I'm well aware of viciousness - Met Ceneral and Party, and together with Jack, took off with our equipment and supplies loaded in sleds - after reaching our assigned working area, we set up our eauipment and repeated processes of past few days - adding notes to an already half full diary. The hours passed slowly as we cheeked and recheeked our findings, but like all things - it came to an abrupt end when our radio man received word from our base that Kearns was in serious danger of dying unless immediate medical attention was administered -
Confronted with this new problem, Lew Whitcomb had no choice but to send Matt and Marion Johnson back by sled to secure him and return Joe Kearns to S.S. Greely - We bid the boys a safe journey, then continued on with our research.
It was 9:16PM when we stopped for the first time to have chow - we had gone 27 hours with no food, or since my last chocolate bar - odd, but wasn't too hungry considering everything.
At camp we again coordinated and examined all our findings and compiled them together with our previous reports. Played first game of cards - gin rummy with Jack, beat him -
Shop talked until 2:AM and retired shortly after that - Was informed shortly after hitting the sack that our radio had picked up baseball scores - you know who lost for me -
Fourth day at site - progress slow - no wind, but bitter cold makes it practically impossible to work or to endure - back aches from bucking wind for past few days - had to walk at 60 degree angle practically always.
Saw an odd phenomena of North - a beautiful rainbow far to the south of our camp - its shades of color were out of this world.
Ate candy for meals all day, only good energy giving food we have.
Men starting to get weary - will have to contact S.S. Greeley and pray for a quick solution to problems now before us - General Whitcomb reported seeing Polar Bear's on ridge about 300 yards away - hope it was a mirage.
Reports from Blue-Jay very discouraging - men quitting because of payroll inadequacies - Weather there very poor also - Army has left so only Civilian personnel remain.
After trying to record data in field all day fighting the adverse weather, retreated to camp to finish same. Cleaned and oiled rifles - just in case - At 8:37 PM saw Russian bomber fly overhead - I hope it was routine flight and not a secret mission - as ours was - Strange how they know or have access to every move we make - Wired S.S. Greely to forward information to Pentagon -
Relaxed until bedtime by writing, and by play hearts.
No change in weather - wind still pressing 100-120 miles an hour - cold still unbearable, as temperature hovering around 85-90 below - Took gloves off and almost lost skin of fingers as I gripped rifle barrel.
Wore snow glasses and a breathing mask, or I'd have breath taken away from me from velocity of storm.
Left base at 8:AM and carried snow shoes with us for first time - Dogs all eager to get into action so they could flex muscles and get warm. We harnessed them to our sleds and headed for our outposts - Made additional entries of data in our diaries - tested more instruments - Sighted fresh bear tracks at one outpost, so General Whitcomb and George Ruth and I adjusted our rifies, secured our reports and started following tracks by sled -
After what apreared like an eternity, riding over ever dangerous ravines, ice slush over bays, glaciers and mountains, we finally sighted Mr Bruin lumbering toward a high shelf of ice near the open sea - to our surprise, we spotted another bear with hin - which - unfortunately was something we hadn't banked on -
The wind was against us in that it carried our scent toward the bears - there was no time to lose, so General Whitcomb ordered all the dogs released - he figured the 27 dogs we had could keep both beat's at bay, or at least from coming our way until we three had cornered them for what we hoped would be fatal shots.
The bears sense of smell brought them roaring at us before we could release al the dogs - They were a good 250 yards away when George unloaded his rifle at one of them - at the same time, 15 or 20 of the dogs who were free, charged viciousiy at them - My hands practicaily frozen and numb trying to unleach the rest of the huskies, my finger tips aching, and my heart throbbing like it was going to burst inside of me added to the tense exitement - The general was nipped six or seven times by over anxious dags trying to free themselves, but he was so cold too, he barely felt them - One of the bears, mortally wounded by gun shot was no match for these now maddened dags - they truly fought and slashed like wolves - Other bear was on his hind paws ripping, snapping and growiing at the rest of the dogs who had him circled - this truly was a scene I'll never forget as long as I live -
These dogs were literally cut in two with every swipe of the ponderous bears swings - bleeding, bitten and with huge chunks of fur cut from their hides, these huskies kept charging in for more - not a coward among them - they knew no fear - unless every ounce of life's blood was drained from their weakened bodies, they fought, and with every fatal gasp, it became more vicious and gorey -
The bear was fighting as valianitly as the unfair odds would allow - he took a toll of 14 dogs to death with him before he toppled - even as he staggered and groaned his last lifeful gasps, he kicked, slashed and bit savagely. The stench of death was everywhere. Our rifles having finished them off, the dogs feasted as we administered first aid to one another and then to our wounded huskies -
six more dogs were shot because they were too far gone - two were loaded on our sleds with badly mangled bodies and seven were hitched to one sled after they had their fill of bear meat - (the usual sled requires 9 dogs - a row of four abreast and a leader - )
We secured our snow-shoes and packing our gear that was formally on the three sleds on our backs, we made our way back to the base. Our progress was slow and back breaking, but at 4:30AM the following morning we sighted our flag perched on our tent top - through the binociilars. At 5;l7AM we pulled up in front of the main tent with all the rest of our men eagerly awaiting our arrival.
With no sleep - only time to more or less thaw out - our group left for another day of work and recording. There was no fanfare - no excitement, because now we had to walk to our outposts - we had to let our dogs rest - the men who remained in camp tendered the wounded ones and tried to ease the pain of the rest.
Although the winds had subsided, we hadn't noticed it - what with everything that had transpired.
We ate our second chocolate bar for our noon meal - neither George nor General Whitcomb nor I were in any condition to as yet stomach a whole meal - for myself - unashamadly I admit I was scared beyond words - my heart stil throbbed as i entered the Camp, and as I was now working twelve hours after the grim battle - I stil shook clear to my toes - believe it or not, I even think my teeth chattered - Anyway, I do know that I stiil felt the heart pangs from it all - I now see what it takes to be brave, I wonder i George or the General felt as I did - I Suppose I'll never know -
We completed our fifth day in the polar regions by getting to bed to rest our very weary bones at 11PM - we had gone over 45 cortinuous hours of strenuous spine tingling episodes -
I didn't even remeimber recording final notes for daily log -
The dawn of our sixth day came much too soon to satisfy me - It seemed like a horrible nightmare - the events of the past 48 to 50 hours - I awoke still quite nervous and decidely tired, but work had to be done, and I was to help -
Examined huskies - wounded and bruised alike - fed them bear meat - and prepare to return to field - Gen. Whitcomb and George Ruth joined me by our snow shoe rack and off we went - The inconvenience of walking hampered our progress, but there was no other way to accomplish our mission - the remaining seven dogs could not do the work required, so they remained behind as guards for the camp - Our outposts were in the form of a hexagon, with five areas to cover - the first and master base was 4½ miles from the camp - the 2nd was three miles from the first - the 3rd - the 5th three from the 4th - and back to our master base was three miles.
The approximately 20 miles we trudged each way was exhausting, but they're was no other course of action to be taken.
The three of us had completed our compilation of data at point lead - our 3rd station when the General stghted another bear running aimlessly toward us about 1/4 of a mile away - The broad expanses of wasteland afforded us no medium of shelter op proteetion - here again my ice cold body started to sweat - my pulse started to throb, that same sickening feeling lodged itself deep in the pit of my stomach -
A million thoughts ran through my mind - I remember clutching my medallion as I wiped the bead of sweat off my eyebrows and lids - I remember being told to lie flat on my stomaeh on the snow and hold my fire until the bear was practically point blank at firing range. I remember being told to shoot for his shoulders and legs - to try to slow his charge down - to cripple him first - then finish him off later - What took place in the next few moments - moments filled with eternities, you'll never be able to imagine - the million thoughts of home - of my loved ones, at survival, - truly the will to survive was the emotion most forcefull - these feelings all gripped me as I looked down the long barrel - through my sights - at the charging bear - my face was so warm it didn't stick to the cold steel, even -
When Mr. Bruin was a scant 20-25 yards away, we a opened fire - he whirled and half spun in his tracks, then he reared up and growled a fierce growl of defiance - his beautiful golden white fur blotched with blood, he once more made ready to charge - again we hit him a volley of rounds, and this time he lay motionless - We pumped another few rounds into him just for safekeaping.
The general said our first volley only stunned him, although we did hit his vital organs - one bullet had severed his throat and another hit the bridge of his nose at the intersection of his eyes - what shots were mine I don't know - maybe none - maybe they all went astray - I do know that another series of events such as the past few days and they can fast cover me over.
For once General Whitcomb commented of his condition - he too was frightened - so was George - thank God I wasn't the only coward - odd what heights one can rise to when confronted by danger -
Our trip back was slower, because we still had a few more stations to work at before returning to the base -
We dragged ourselves in at 2:30AM, and again as before we didn't talk too elaborately on the events - since we were dog tired and thoroughly shaken
The storm of a few days back returned with all its vaunted velocity as I awoke for what was to be our last day at the Pole - Our temperature reached its peak- 94° below zero and the wind was 97 miles per hour - this was a fitting scene for our preparation for departure.
After contacting the base, we sent word ahead to have the heliocopter from the ice breaker "East Wind" co me efter us.
We prepared all our gear for transportation back to the S.S. Greely - then sent the balance of the men and dogs back to the ship also -
Gen. Whitcomb, George and I set out for our last recordings at our stations.
We succesefully and uneventfully completed the run and waited until 7:3OPM before sighted the "Copter" --
We boarded her and were taken to the "East Wind" about 85 miles away.
After having our first hardy meal in a week, we planned on plowing back to Blue day as soon as possible to hand over to the Chief of Staff compiled records of our week at the North Pole - we again hit the sack early, for on tomorrow we were to start planning our last flight from the immediate area.
Windy and very cold out - Gen. Whitcomb, George and I left Ice Breaker by heliocopter for Blue-Jay - renotified Capt. Kiley of S.S. Greely to start back also -
After somewhat rough trip, sighted Blue Jay about six in the evening - Presented all recorded data to Staff Officer who was left behind for just this mission, when main forces evacuated. he immediately boarded C-124 for Pentagon.
Contacted Frank Paduan and Jack and discussed our adventure5 with bears - Somehow, could still feel chill run through me whenever subject came up.
After chow, received all mail and pictures from home - happy to hear from all, and especially glad to get apples.
will spend time writing tonight - Winds still howling, and am told winter will set in early this year - hmm, that's a consoling thought - Before retiring, took snap-shots at husky pups that were born while I was away - they're cute as can be.
Was told to spend a few days in hospital for nerves, and for slight fever.
Still cold out, snow and wind blowing at better then 80 miles an hour - Attended mass - sang songs with newly organized choir - Spoke to Father Wolott of adventures, and of prayers I said during trip - Atter noon meal, went to hospital. Dr. Dick, Stat Surgeon and I played crib - I won 8-1.
Incidently, he took second base crib championship 28 games to 4 - going through trials, quarter-finals, semi-finals and finale - Heard Secretary of Air Force - Finletter and his wife are coming tomorrow - wonder what they are to do here - All ships have now left harbor and only Heintzelman and Greeley remain as barracks ships - they too will leave by 5th of September.
Was given couple of shots of sulphur drugs and some sleeping tablets - didn't remember anything after 7:30PM.
Awoke with head ache and slight earache - very nauseous, but had control of self - had visit from Gen. Whitcomb and Father Wolott - also men of the NAC workers who heard I was sick - wrote letters and sent pictures home.
Foggy outside - a plane has been circling overhead for over three hours, can't seem to get in to land - Other patients all very sick - mostly accidents - five with fractured skulls - two with ulcers- two with pneumonia. Quite a bunch, eh?
Ensuing day all the same - weather prevailed cold outside - not much change in hospital - patients recuperating slowly. My nerves now back to normal and fever over with - plan to quit here tomorrow.
Understad men being questioned as to whether they desire to remain during winter months to man projeet - many don't want to have anything to do with Blue Jay anymore.
Was informed by Jack Altig that he'll fly to Westover with me about middle of December - so I guess I'll definitely be home for Christmas.
Played more cards and tried to get inkling of goings an outside, but Doctor ordered me to rest and not be informed of anything.
Retired at 11PM very stift from long confinement -
Back to work after week of relaxing. Crisp and clear, but sky over glacier forecasts storm approaching- - F.B.I. has over 100 workers here, information released at meeting of top braes of NAC and AE - sabotage still very probable, so we have to be on the alert - P.0.L. system and other vital areas could easily he destroyed without detection. Our position very precarious because particular location on base affords no escape - all doomed either through explosions, fire, heat, drowning or hysteria.
Danes and Eskimoes all try to peddle wares at base, but prices are outrageous.
Work in general all ahead of schedule - men all doing best they can to meet progress dates assigned by government -
Routine of daily work same pattern day after day - now until winter sets in, it will be work and sleep - work and sleep. With darkness approaching, there will be no more soft-ball, no more hikes. We spend as much time resting so we'll be ready to work long hours, only to get tired and need rest again - it actually the vicinus circle herein described.
Had jeep fitted and overhauled for cold weather before it arrives - no use taking any unnecessary chances - Eagerly await mail from home, but with fog and all, I don't get too many.
Hope album of pictures doesn't get filled too soon, otherwise you have to get another one.
Have been assigned a secretary to do all clerical work now done by my one finrer and typewriter - forms have to be typed prior to submittance to N.E.D. and Pentagon. I guess giving me secretary was diplomatic way of saying typing was a little worse than bad.
Was invited to have lunch with Danish Governor - Jack and Frank Paduan, Jim Millette, Chuck Carrigan and I attedet - Can't say I like their types of food, too much variety - Oh, how I miss baked beans and frank.
Heard many interesting tales of north country, but none as exciting as that of Perry's trip - will relate some day.
Rough weather still prevails - Have instilled spirit of competion in second shift so that they now out-produce day shift -
More men caught steailng beer - means termination for them plus forfeiting of $500.00 transportation fund. Silly how these men risk good job - also black mark by the Government, and loss of a sizeable sum of money for a miserable can of beer - odd what must go through their minds.
George Holling, Ken Thompson and Harlo Haagenson arrived from New York - at meeting we discussed proposed manpower to be kept during winter and 1952 program - also evacuation of present personnel down to needed figure to function properly in all 10 divisions through long winter months.
Also discussed organizational chart for l952 in regard to top personnel - was told I'll be retained as Asst. Gen. Supt. for 2nd shift.
Took snap shots of "Wheels" plus those of glacier in valley -
Attended show and saw "The Frogmen" there were some scenes taken here at Blue Jay by Bob Earl of the U.S. Navy.
Visited Father Wolott and consulted with him about possible construction of a larger church - of course he was excited beyond words.
Will bring up proposed construction with John Brown, Building Division Superintendent.
Had bit of bad news - Washington rejected payment on the extra time I worked while serving as Convoy Supt. enroute to Blue Jay - it would have meant an additional $1,500.00 - Oh, well - better luck next time.
Four days of beautiful weather - strangely mild and warm for this area and time of year -
Many NAC men quitting or terminating with completed contracts - Army security checking gear of all evacuees for stolen property, film or other material detrimental to security of base and U.S.
Beer put on sale, but wish it were all thrown in bay - disorder and vildness exist.
Mail main problem of concern here - as was the time we were at sea, no mail hurts overall morale of manpower here.
Have taken 20 or 30 more pictures of beautiful sunsets and sunrises - also of the fjords and glaciers in the interior.
Investigating report that Eskimo girl have been sighted lounging around camp - Hope it's not true, because consequences could be harmful. Danes also in formed to keep personnel off base areas. Their interest and inquisitiveness makes ycu wonder if they're spies or not - wouldn't put it past them - could be Quislings -
More men discharged for visiting Eskimo village and for steallng beer.
Sat in on more meetings concerned with joining up organization for 1952 operations - personallties may change, but never policy. Wrote more lettere today - also made more entries in diary.
Sunday - attended mass again -